Foreigners in Beijing: A Very Typical Moment

April 29, 2012

I step into her tiny shop, studying her face as she studies mine. Her look is not inviting.

Crap, I think, she’s one of those people who start screaming at foreigners whenever we try to negotiate.

I smile first. “Nihao,” I say.

“Wow! Your Chinese is so good!” she exclaims.

I touch the colorful clothes hanging to my left. She observes my gladiator-clad feet. “Aren’t you cold with such open shoes?” she asks?

This is the ten thousandth time I’ve answered this question since living in Beijing. “No,” I reply, smiling.

I finish browsing. “Thank you,” I say.

“No need for thanks.”



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